Vinyl Record Sales Are Soaring: An Inconvenient Truth

| Audio · Culture

They’re fragile, heavy, and hard to port around. They’re not very convenient for the listener — you need a good needle to get a decent sound, you have to manually flip one over to hear the full album, and once damaged they are pretty much impossible to repair. So why have vinyl record sales been steadily skyrocketing since 2008? And why should you care?

 

What was becoming a nostalgic novelty format for die-hard fans of classics like Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles is now a standard part of the record label release package for even mainstream pop artists like Taylor Swift and One Direction. More than nine million vinyl records were sold in 2014, up 52% from the same period the previous year.

 

From e-commerce sites like Amazon to local record stores and national retail storefronts like Urban Outfitters and Best Buy, Millennials are digging in the crates right alongside Boomers. Why are these consumers who can access pretty much every song on the planet on any device connected to the Internet FOR FREE going out of their way to pay good money for and even get on waiting lists to purchase vinyl LPs?

 

Intimacy, tangibility, identity, and interaction are all core aspects of deep brand loyalty. And all uniquely thrive in the vinyl experience. It’s a connection you don’t get with the endless stream of songs on Spotify or Pandora. And, as the numbers clearly show, that connection is proving to be more valuable to consumers than convenience.

 

Some photos courtesy of Vnylst. Stats sourced from The Wall Street Journal and 2014 Nielsen Music Report.


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